Yes, the Chiesi sisters are back at it again! This time we have all three of them uniting to proceed with this years edition of the famous Casa Chiesi Tomato Sauce run!. So for this one they decided to transfer the venue from our house in the countryside to a cooler location up in the mountains in Val Seriana at Betti’s Grandfathers house in Bratto.
I have to say I did not like the looks of it when I heard that the project involved buying 300 kilos of Italian tomatoes which had to be transported from the town of Pianello all the way to the new location (roughly a two hour drive!). I was not a happy camper since we just bought a brand new car and the idea of it being covered with 30 boxes of spilled tomatoes had me on edge. Luckly the trip was divided in three cars and Patti (Betti’s older sister offered to bring the tomatoes in her truck!). This year we had back by popular demand Simo, her middle sister who is officialy considered the Herr Commander in Chief.
All in all this years edition took two full days of production (due to the fact that they had to go out and but a new Tomato crushing machine cause the one they had broke)
Here are some photos along with a condensed video of this years fun! For those interested on the numbers each sister produced 70 jars (500 gr or half a kilo each).
Previous edition follows here:
Why do I make my own tomato sauce? After 10 years of making it I finally found the answer: for the subtle shiver, a mix of pleasure and guilt I feel every time I open one of those lined up jars, chipping away at the majestic reserves produced during the summer. I know, it’s not normal, but hey, everybody has a dark side!!!
Apart from that when I try to cook in the winter time with those bloodless tomatoes bought in the supermarket, suspiciously looking and tasting all the same or with the industrial sauces that display a shade of red which is non existing in nature, I’m super happy of the indescribable effort I made the summer before.
But in my case this is not the only punishment involved in the project: being the youngest of the three sisters that gather together for the event, for some ancestral reasons, as soon as we start working, the power balance I though overtaken in the years, pops up unchanged and I find myself at the end of the line as I used to be as a child, suddenly obliged to perform the less prestigious duties like washing the gigantic pots obviously in uncomfortable conditions.
Since I want to share with you my masochist side I’m going to explain the process and invite you to try it out. You can also watch the video my husband Nazim shot during the sauce making: I apologise for the randomness of the shooting but, as I said before, men are usually excluded for the simple reason that in this situation we touch an aesthetic detour we rarely reach in other situations (you can only compare it with self hair dyeing).
First of all you have to find good tomatoes, red and mature, possibly not treated with chemicals. In our case we bought 200 Kg (I’m serious, you got that right, 200 Kg!!!) just because my two sisters being born under the sign of Aries do not understand the limit of their strength and as a consequence, of mine too.
If you are a medium range masochist you can start with a few kilograms and be happy all the same. Make sure your tomatoes are close to the “Perini” type and calculate that you will get a ½ Kg jar for each kilograms of tomatoes you buy.
Wash them thoroughly and cut them in four. Put them in a large pot and cook them for 15 minutes so that they get soft. If you have the processor that separates the skin from the pulp do it when the tomatoes are still hot (we use a machine called Spremy Tomatoe Strainer machine sold by Imperia which is the same company that produces the most famous pasta fresca machine in Italy) and cook it again for an hour or one and a half depending of the quality of the tomatoes and your taste, adding basil leaves, garlic, salt and sugar. When, the sauce is cooked put it in your sterilised jars making sure the sauce is still very hot.
In Italy around August all the super markets and the house hold goods stores sell piles of glass jars and lids for sauces and jams. If you want to use the one from the year before you can sterilise the jars by boiling them but you should ALWAYS use new lids and clean carefully the jars edge to guarantee the vacuum packing and keep your family alive in spite of your hobbies. Once the filling process is finished put the jars up side down and cover them with a blanket: this tip is very important as I already explained in a previous article (how to make red onion jam) because it will make your sauce cool down more slowly and preserves it even better. You can enjoy your sauce made with this procedure all over the coming year.
Sounds easy, right? It’s just a matter of proportion!!!!!